COVID compliance complaint levelled against Northeast Town unfounded, says health unit


NORTHEAST TOWN – On Friday, July 24, the Northeast Town’s municipal office was paid a visit by inspectors with Public Health and Sudbury Districts (PHSD). An anonymous tipster had reported that the municipality was not doing its part to combat the threat of COVID-19 and was rather more interested in its economic development.

CAO Dave Williamson shared this with council at the July 28 weekly meeting.

During the Friday visit, Mr. Williamson said he explained to the PHSD inspector, who was on Manitoulin on an unrelated matter, that the municipality is following every protocol laid out by both the PHSD and the province, even going above and beyond by placing handwashing stations throughout the downtown core.

“They had absolutely no problem with our approach and what we are doing,” Mr. Williamson said. “I also explained that we still have businesses that need to attract customers and we are doing whatever we can to help them do that,” Mr. Williamson said.

Burgess Hawkins, PHSD manager of environmental health, told The Expositor that the complaint received was anonymous and had stated that there were large numbers of people not using masks and not practicing physical distancing in the Northeast Town.

The PHSD stopped into numerous businesses and found them all to be practicing the recommended guidelines. Mr. Hawkins said the complaint was “unfounded,” as was the complaint leveled against the municipality. “There was no indication that the town wasn’t keeping up its end of things.”

Mr. Hawkins said he also spoke with his two Island-based inspectors who said that mask use on Manitoulin has been good and that stores are doing a good job at promoting physical distancing guidelines.

The Northeast Town has supplied hand-washing stations at locations in downtown Little Current.